The highly charged murder trial of George Zimmerman concludes today. As jury deliberations begin, supporters of 17-year-old African American victim, Trayvon Martin, are hoping for a conviction. However, if the jury returns an acquittal, local leaders are calling for calm. This week, Jacksonville Pastor John Guns said, "Let's learn lessons from this and not simply repeat the painful history that our country has experienced." Area law enforcement are preparing for protests nonetheless. Time magazine commentator, Marc Polite, says the tone of preparations is racial fear mongering. He wrote, "In some ways, the calls for order recapitulate what this case is all about—the assumption of violence on the part of the black community, and of black men." Others say protesting trial verdicts are a legitimate part of American discourse.
Melina Abdullah, Professor and Chair of Pan-African Studies at California State University
Joe Hicks, Vice President, Community Advocates, Inc.